State Sen. Mike Fasano’s bill to reroute funds made from Florida’s “Choose Life” license plates passed the Senate Budget Committee yesterday, but not without some debate over changes to the measure.

Several amendments to the bill (known as S.B. 196) have already been added, but a newly offered amendment that was defeated in committee would have even further restricted the use of the funds.

The amendment, offered April 13 by Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, would have stipulated that at least 70 percent of funds go to meeting the physical needs of pregnant women. Current law states that only 30 percent or less can go to adoption-related counseling, but Fasano’s bill would write out that 70/30 split so that any amount of the funds could go to counseling, rather than purely meeting the physical needs of pregnant women making adoption plans for their children.

“Sen. Fasano is not supporting this amendment,” says Greg Giordano, Fasano’s chief legislative aide. “If this were to be adopted it would basically put the language back to existing law (regarding this portion of the bill). Sen. Fasano will be speaking against the amendment and asking the committee to vote it down.”

Joyner’s amendment was defeated in committee, but another recently offered Joyner amendment, which keeps the money in Florida, was adopted. The bill will next go to the Senate floor.

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